Johnson Controls broke ground on a 22,000 square-foot expansion of its air-handling unit manufacturing facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
The expansion will create 40-50 new assembly jobs to boost production and the local economy. The facility, which manufactures both YORK and Miller-Picking brand systems, is increasing its footprint in response to the growing demand for custom air-handling units.
The project, which will increase the facility’s size to 120,000 square feet, includes the relocation of several sub-assembly cells and opens more manufacturing space in the main plant. Johnson Controls will also install a new crane system that will move products during the manufacturing process. The project is slated to be completed in May 2020.
“We’re excited to start this project, create attractive employment opportunities for area residents and serve the growing needs of the heating and air conditioning industry,” said Ramiro Rodriguez, plant manager, Johnson Controls. “This expansion is another chapter in our long-term commitment to employees, Forrest County and area business partners.”
“It is always welcome news when one of Hattiesburg’s longstanding manufacturing employers adds additional jobs,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “We congratulate Johnson Controls on this expansion. It is a testament to the company’s forward-thinking leadership and to Hattiesburg’s dynamic and skilled workforce.”
Johnson Controls currently employs 225 workers at the facility. It is one of the top five preferred manufacturing employers in Hattiesburg. The existing plant was built in 1968, and the last building expansion was completed more than 20 years ago.
The new expansion involves ongoing collaboration among many partners, including the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County and Area Development Partnership. The general contractor is Rustin Metal Buildings and Construction of Laurel, Mississippi.
Chad Driskell, chair, Area Development Partnership, stated: “Johnson Controls’ expansion in Hattiesburg speaks to our pro-business operating environment and the quality of our regional workforce. Employees drive from across South Mississippi to work in the regional hub, which also creates more opportunities here for them to dine, shop and play.”
David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, said: “We’re honored to hear Johnson Controls is expanding here in Forrest County. The company has a history of success here in the Forrest County Industrial Park that dates back 50 years, and we look forward to the company’s presence for another 50 years as a major contributor to our strong manufacturing sector.”
According to local officials, while the expansion is a boon to the local economy, it also demonstrates the continued investment and leadership of Johnson Controls in the heating and air conditioning industry. Manufactured in Hattiesburg, YORK and Miller-Picking air-handling units are used in commercial buildings throughout the world. The plant complements the company’s Airside Center of Excellence in York County, Pennsylvania, which features 40,000 square feet of office space and 285,000 square feet of manufacturing space.